Unlock the Potential of Web Design in South Africa
Everything you need to know about creating an impressive website that wins customers drives sales and boosts your brand image
If you’re thinking about creating your own website, it’s tempting to consider doing it yourself or giving it to your neighbour’s-cousin’s-step-brother’s-daughter to do! Maybe you want to save money, or maybe you think that the only skills required are creating an attractive design and uploading it to your site’s backend.
However, these are only two of the many components that make up an effective website.
- What about content, search engine optimization (SEO), and user experience (UX)?
- What about page load speed, mobile friendliness and backlinks?
- How will you appeal to different audiences and resonate with your target market?
In other words, it takes a lot more than just web design to create a fully functional online presence that actually grows your business.
For this reason, if you’re serious about harnessing the power of the internet to grow your brand and get real results, you need to hire a dedicated South African web design agency. Keep reading to find out why!
Why do you need an agency to design your website?
Every business understands that they need a website. The problem is most of them don’t actually know why they need a website.
Companies often feel the need to have a website because other businesses in their industry have one, or because it appears more professional. Even though having a website can be helpful in terms of professionalism, it should not be the sole reason for a business to create one.
In truth, your website should operate as a functional, productive extension of your business and shouldn’t be there just for the sake of being there. Your website needs to be able to bring in leads and generate more business. When a stranger lands on your website they should quickly be able to understand what your business does and how you can help them.
What it all boils down to is that there’s no substitute for hiring an experienced agency to get the best result. After all, your website is likely to be one of the main ways potential customers interact with your business and good design fundamentals are essential for a successful result. If you are based in SA, then it is even more important to hire a South African web design agency that understands local culture and trends, allowing you to stand out from other businesses in your area.
Build it and they will come! …or will they?
There is a pervasive myth out there that as soon as you launch your website, visitors will start flocking to it. Of course, that’s not actually very realistic. Why? What’s in it for them? How will they even find it?
Firstly, you need to show up high on search engines for potential customers to actually find your website. (Alternatively, you could use social media or paid advertising to send traffic your way.)
And once the visitor reaches your site, they need to be guided toward the actions you want them to take. Is your goal to make online sales, collect leads, or encourage the visitor to pick up the phone and call you? Whatever the aim, it’s your website’s duty to hold them by the hand and tell them what to do next.
The Business Landscape in South Africa is Changing
Gone are the days when you could market your business offline only. In fact, marketing experts agree that the vast majority of your budget should be geared toward online marketing.
How many people that you know are still consuming physical newspapers or magazines? Not many, right? This shift from offline to online has been going on for years, and those who adapt are the ones who survive and thrive.
Likewise, gone are the days when you could depend just on referrals.
Relying solely on referrals will take you on a feast or famine never ending roller coaster ride. Trust me, this is one ride you don’t want to go on!
Referrals and Offline Marketing are just not sustainable business models any longer. You need to have systems in place where you can build out a steady stream of predictable leads – and that all starts with having a great website that works for you 24/7.
You need to be online!
“If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business.”
Love him or hate him, Bill Gates is right with that quote. And believe it or not, he said it in the mid-1990s! Here in South Africa, we may have been slower to adopt all the latest technologies, but by 2023, you must be active online to survive.
You need to consistently produce content on your website and make sure you’re visible out there. It’s just a fact of life – if you’re not online, then your business won’t be around for much longer. It might sound dramatic, but it’s true!
10 critical steps that every web design project in South Africa needs to consider (all of them are important)
At DEZIGN-IT, we have a proven formula for creating winning websites.
1) Web Hosting
While fast servers and excellent support are a given, even more importantly we need to choose a web host that specializes in Web Hosting. There are too many companies out there that specialize in providing other services, and just offer cheap web hosting on the side.
I see too many businesses going for the cheap option and thinking that their web hosts are not that important, when this couldn’t be further from the truth. When you have a problem, you want your web host to understand immediately and advise you accordingly.
There are only 2 companies in South Africa that I trust with hosting my or my client’s websites:
1) Xneelo Ltd (formerly Hetzner Ltd), and
Both these companies specialize in web hosting, offer excellent backup and support, and have been in the industry for many years. In my experience, paying those few extra Rands every month is well worth the peace of mind.
Ideally, your web design agency in South Africa should offer you a managed service where they handle all your website hosting and website maintenance. In other words, they partner with industry-leading web hosts (like the companies I mentioned above) on your behalf, and offer you a completely hands-off web hosting and management service (like we do!).
Among other things, this saves you the hassle, time, and stress of updating plugins and themes, and making sure that those plugins are compatible with the latest version of WordPress (or whatever other CMS you are using).
The global web hosting services market is expected to grow annually at a readjusted CAGR of 18% from 2020 to 2027 due to the increased demand spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. From $102 billion in 2020, it is predicted to reach $321.5 billion by 2025 (Global Industry Analysts, 2021). – Finances Online
2) CMS (Content Management System)
If you’re looking to get your website up and running soon, the first thing you need to consider is what kind of platform your website will be built on. A content management system (CMS) is the foundation for your website; it’s what allows you to customize, maintain and manage it in an easy way.
We personally recommend WordPress, which is a great CMS that powers millions of websites worldwide. WordPress is search engine friendly and highly customizable – you can create anything from simple websites to highly complex e-commerce websites with thousands of products.
Plus, since it’s the most popular CMS out there, you can find plenty of tutorials and support. The page you are reading now is built on WordPress, specifically using the Divi Theme, but you can use any theme that you want.
Here are some of the most famous websites that are built on WordPress:
- Time Magazine – https://time.com/
- SABC News – https://www.sabcnews.com/
- Tech Crunch – https://techcrunch.com/
- SARS – https://www.sars.gov.za/
- Toyota Brazil – https://www.toyota.com.br/
- Mybroadband – https://mybroadband.co.za/
- Ted Blog – https://blog.ted.com/
- This is Finland – https://finland.fi/
- Microsoft News – https://news.microsoft.com/
- The Next Web – https://thenextweb.com/
And many, many, many more.
3) Mobile Friendliness
In South Africa, just like in most parts of the world, more and more people are visiting websites on their mobile devices. Having a responsive, mobile-friendly website that can be easily navigated on any size device is a MUST.
“In 2022, 78.6% of the South African population accessed the internet via mobile device. This share is projected to grow to over 90% by the end of 2026. In 2021, the number of mobile internet users in South Africa amounted to almost 47.8 million.”
“57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website”
4) Website Speed
Let’s be real, we all know that nobody is excited about waiting around for a website to load. It’s frustrating and not something people want to put up with. That’s why it’s so important for websites to load quickly. After all, users don’t have time to spare – they are trying to access info quickly and any sort of delay will push them away from your site.
Plus, Google also considers loading speed when ranking websites, so if you want higher rankings, you’ll need to make sure your site loads swiftly. Don’t let sluggishness ruin the user experience or hamper your SEO efforts!
Simple Tips to Improve Website Speed:
Check out our quick YouTube video for more tips on boosting your website speed.
But what about cool graphics and animations?!
While they might look nice, chances are visitors haven’t clicked through to your website for a visual spectacle – they’re looking for information, and they want it quickly.
Over 50% of people would be willing to swap out animations or videos for faster loading times.
Source: Website Builder Expert
5) Website Navigation
It’s essential for your website to have a user-friendly interface that allows visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly. As stated earlier, your website should instantly steer the reader toward the action that you want them to take.
More often than not, especially in the case of service-based businesses, the ultimate goal on your website will be to get someone to contact you. To achieve this, your website should have a clear “Call To Action”.
These should be in bold and strategically placed to encourage someone to click them and take the relevant action. Make the whole user experience as seamless as possible, enabling the user to get the information they need and take the action they want in as few clicks as possible.
“94% of Consumers Say Your Website Must Be Easy to Navigate”
“31% of people think that an engaging user experience is a top priority for website designs.”
6) Website Content
Content is KING! Create valuable original content that shows off what your business has to offer. Go in-depth describing how your services are going to make their lives better, and what sets you apart from the competition.
By producing high-quality content, you position yourself as an authority in your industry – both in your users’ eyes, and Google’s too. If you’re not sure what content to create, we assist with that as well.
While written content is KING, beautiful images and videos are QUEEN! Showcase real-life, captivating images and videos that help your business stand out, as well as make you more relatable and memorable as a brand.
Did you know?
“Content marketing can also generate leads. When your audience views your content, they’re more likely to purchase from you in the future.”
7) Include Clear CTA’s (Call To Action)
Creating clear call-to-actions (CTAs) for visitors to your website is essential for achieving your goals. CTAs should lead website visitors toward your desired outcomes, such as completing a contact or quotation form. To make sure these calls to action stand out, no matter where they appear on your website, you should use fun language and be sure to create an inviting tone.
Additionally, integrating email marketing into the site will help you strengthen those CTAs by following up with valuable content that encourages further customer engagement. So make sure to include strong CTAs on all of your web pages to ensure maximum customer conversion rates!
A study from Unbounce found that a page with a Single CTA converted at 13.5%
“Personalized Calls to Action Convert 202% Better”
“ContentVerve rephrased a CTA to say “Start my free 30-day trial” instead of “Start your 30-day free trial,” they saw a 90% boost in their click-through rate. Another example you could use is “I want it!” instead of a second-person phrase like “Get it here.”
Creating Calls to Action (CTAs) on your website is a great way to engage customers, but they won’t do any good if they’re not optimized. Regularly testing and tweaking your CTAs helps you get better performance out of them, making sure that your website visitors are taking the action you want them to.
It’s easy enough to do: just change some words in the button or even the colour and see how it affects the results! The effort you put into CTAs pays off – testing and optimizing will help ensure that your website really stands out from the crowd.
8) SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Friendly
While full-scale SEO is a separate service we offer, setting the right foundations in place when building your website is a very prudent move. The basics include:
- Creating a Sitemap
- Google Analytics and Google Search Console Submission
- Proper Permalink Structure
- SEO Friendly URLS
- Making sure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) is consistent
While getting these foundations right won’t immediately catapult you to the first page of SERPs, they will make sure you’re at least visible.
Did you know?
Discover more valuable SEO stats for South Africa here.
Try out our very own SEO Tools to do Keyword Research, check your SERP Rankings on Google or Bing, check your Backlinks and so much more!
9) Social Media Integration
Making it easy for your website visitors to find your social media accounts through your website is a great way to keep the conversation going. It also encourages fans to share your posts and spread the word about your offering, potentially attracting new business. Social media can also be a useful way of offering customer support or answering queries on the channels your audience spends time on already.
All over the world, social media usage is increasing, and South Africa is no different. Currently, there are more than thirty million people using social media in the country, and this figure is anticipated to soar even higher in the coming years.
Read our detailed article on Social Media Stats in South Africa here. https://dezignit.co.za/social-media-stats-in-south-africa/
10) Track and Optimize Your Website Performance
Finally, it’s good to note that a beautiful, informative, fast-loading website isn’t terribly useful if you have no way of tracking its performance. Installing Google Analytics, which is a FREE tool from Google, is imperative to understand where your site is doing well, where it isn’t, and why. Without these insights, you’ve got no data on which to base or measure improvements.
You need to understand how many people are coming to your website, how they are getting there, and what they are doing once they reach it. The number of clients that come to us with a website they’ve managed for years, yet have never even heard of a Google Analytics report, is actually a bit frightening!
Another standout feature of Google Analytics is that it allows you to track conversions – how many of your website visitors actually turn into paying customers. Without this metric, you have no real way of tracking your progress.
At DEZIGN-IT, we go a little deeper and also use other tools that allow us to view heatmaps and recordings of user behaviour on our websites, we also use tools that allow us to track any element on a website. We can go so granular as to track how many times a certain button was clicked.
All of this rich data allows us to optimize those websites for peak performance.
Did you know?
There are 152,048 websites in South Africa that use Google Analytics
Meet DEZIGN-IT, South Africa’s premier web design agency!
With a decade of experience under our belts, we understand the ins and outs of this industry better than anyone. Not only that, but with our intense focus on staying up-to-date with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies, you can feel confident that your website and digital marketing needs are in good hands.
At DEZIGN-IT we are particularly proud of our comprehensive knowledge of not only web design standards but of digital marketing fundamentals as well – further bolstered by our expertise specific to the South African market. When it comes to taking care of your online presence, you can trust that DEZIGN-IT has the skill and experience necessary to get the job done right.
When it comes to web design, DEZIGN-IT is the agency many business owners choose in South Africa. We understand the importance of creating a website that reflects your business’s values and what you stand for, which is why we focus on providing tailored services designed to meet your individual needs.
Not only can we create an eye-catching and professional website but also offer SEO and marketing services so that people can find your website easily. We offer our highly trusted web design and digital marketing services to businesses of all sizes. Get in touch with us today if you are looking for the perfect custom-made website!
What does DEZIGN-IT charge for designing a professional website in South Africa?
If you want the best solution for your business, DEZIGN-IT is the South African web design agency for you.
Our transparent pricing will make it easy for you to make a decision. However, if you are looking for the cheapest option, we are NOT the right fit for you.
We offer the best value for money, but keep in mind with Web Design (and life in general) you get what you pay for.
Our pricing is not “one size fits all,” but the following is offered as a guide.
Web design in South Africa FAQ
What is web design?
Web design is the art of taking a concept and turning it into reality on the World Wide Web. It is about combining interesting visuals, engaging content, and user-friendly code to create an experience for a website’s visitor that truly reflects the brand identity of the business.
For companies in South Africa, web design isn’t something that should be left up to chance; if done well, it can be a strong tool for helping them engage with their target audiences and spread their reach even further. Whether it’s taking advantage of mobile technology or creating stunning visuals tailored to their industry, having a great website might be just what they need to stay competitive.
What about the price of web design in South Africa?
It’s true: investing in web design isn’t always cheap. You may be wondering why it’s so important to invest in a website—something with an upfront cost—when other forms of advertising seem less expensive. But website design is an asset, not just an investment.
A professional, well-designed website offers highly useful analytics that track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and allow you to measure your return on investment (ROI). In other words, you can see what works and make adjustments quickly without wasting money on campaigns that don’t yield results. When you see website design as a business asset, rather than an expense, you’re better equipped to get the most value out of it.
Our Pricing Guide can be found above.
That said, we understand that budget is a major concern for many SA businesses, which is why we have created a few videos with DIY solutions:
What should be included in a web design package in South Africa?
When looking for a web design package in South Africa, there are several features to consider. The goal of any successful website is to make sure that customers can easily find and engage with it, so make sure the service you use offers custom website design, integration with social media and email marketing platforms as well as having basic search engine optimization.
In addition, seeking out a provider that offers stock images and image editing will ensure your site looks its best. Keep an eye out for scalability options too so you can grow and add more pages or functions over time. Finally, make sure the package includes website support and maintenance plus access to your web hosting manager, so you will have all the tools you need to keep things running smoothly!
What are South African consumers looking for in a website?
South African consumers want to be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily when they visit a website. They might be seeking information about a particular product or service, or simply looking for the best deals on whatever it is that they need.
South African consumers also want websites that are secure and hassle-free, without too much clutter or difficulty in navigating. Furthermore, having good customer service options readily available is a major plus when it comes to creating a good website experience for South African consumers.
How can I make my website stand out from other SA brands?
Creating a unique website with South African flair is an effective way to make your brand stand out against the competition. Start by tailoring the site design to be reflective of the local language, culture and landmarks that are special to South Africa.
Incorporate elements that represent South Africa within the content; think of informative blog posts about newsworthy topics that are relevant to customers and multimedia content like videos or photos that capture people’s attention. If done successfully all these pieces will come together allowing customers to feel a sense of connection and leave a lasting impression which could make all the difference for your brand.
What’s the best free website builder in South Africa?
There are many free website builders out there, and you can make a decent enough website on any of them. However, they’re not all made equal in terms of scalability.
The last thing you want when your business is growing and expanding is to find your website can’t keep pace!
If you have little or no budget, I highly suggest using Google Business Profile’s FREE website option to start off with. Once you start seeing some growth, you can then move onto WordPress and eventually get a Web Design agency to create your website professionally.
Got questions about website design in SA not covered here?
What makes DEZIGN-IT the natural choice for web design in South Africa?
For starters, we offer so much more than just web design services. Our goal is to help our clients thrive in the digital space – so we offer a comprehensive suite of services, including:
It’s this thorough and far-reaching approach that sets us apart as one of the best web designers in South Africa.
Get started today, and let’s make 2023 a year to remember!